I've spent over 16 hours today on this forum. I'm new and I read everything from a guy's credit spread strategy backfire on him late 2007 to someone make a mockery of himself asking admins to remove his posts... Along the way I also read some great posts by a lot of knowledgeable members ...anyways.... What is it that the first thing pros here do before they make any risk management decisions, before any greek tweaking, etc. Before any of that stuff, what do you do? How do you find the stocks that you are going to be likely to trade given condtion 1, condition 2, etc? I've noticed a lot of guys here trade with Interactive Brokers and/ or Thinkorswim. Could you walk us through what scanners you use to first find the stocks you want to trade? I have an IB account and I love the implied volatility and option volume screeners they have. Is that your first destination? Do you write your own code and have scanners based on that? Do you download vast volumes of data every night and do some crazy MATLAB manipulation? I'm working on an API implementation of my own for IB using java if that's also what's required. Ive read Natenberg, Taleb (Dynamic Hedging), Hull (as part of school curriculum), etc etc and feel like an idiot. Basically I'm the junior ferrari engineer who just passed his learner's license. I wanna make that transition from engineer to a rally driver! Bottom Line is this: What first steps do you take towards screening stocks/ ETFs/ futures/ etc that form the basis of your view on the direction the market in that specific instrument takes? I understand that risk management and knowing what the greeks mean are essential- but I have that covered to a large extent. I wanna know what that all important first step is (besides overall market sentiment, and direction course along with global macroeconomic picture). I have been only mildly successful as I have only done long calls and puts, verticals, IC on earnings to benefit from vol collapse [butterflies probably are better for that?]. I also do the occasional double diagonal as I did with recent apple earnings. But I cannot seem to capture big movers! So what is it?? A humble request from an eager undergrad who will be handing out resumes soon. Note*: This request is for those who have been trading successfully for more than two years. I'm sure all of us have certain set-ups and I don't mean any disrespect to anyone. Its just that guys like atticus, maveric and others seem to know what the heck is going on. Note**: If its not something you'd like to discuss openly, could you maybe IM me? I'll respect your wishes and will likewise not share it publicly Thank you!